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Hi everyone. I’m back from my hiatus and I’m starting off with a list of 10 books by authors of Nigerian descent coming out in 2020 across various genres. I’m always excited to read books by Nigerian authors and I hope to share some of that excitement with you in this list.
You will notice a D besides some book titles, this shows that its the author’s debut book. I felt this was necessary because its good to support debut authors so they can keep writing good books.
Let’s dig in.
FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
Middle-grade fantasy from the author of Binti, Who Fears Death and Akata Witch. I’m a huge fan of Nnedi’s books as she creates really unique world in her books, merging African mythology and history with fantasy and science fiction. This book follows Nnamdi, whose desire to avenge his father’s death is given a chance when he is granted superpowers by a mysterious artifact. The title, Ikenga means “place of strength” in Igbo language, it is an Igbo deity that’s represented by a horned statue.
Click to read the synopsis
Nnedi Okorafor’s first novel for middle grade readers introduces a boy who can access super powers with the help of the magical Ikenga.
Nnamdi’s father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers?
Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.
Set in a world where some children born on the 29th of February possess a gift – the ability to travel through time. When Elle Bibi-Imbele Ifie uses her powers on her twelfth birthday, she receives a warning from the future and is pulled into a mystery. Children like her are disappearing and it’s up to her to find out why before she’s next.
I love time travel mystery books and this one has such a unique premise, children born on a leap day with powers! How cool is that? Now I’m wondering if I have any friends born on a leap day, I need to ask some questions.
Ella can see things that haven’t happened yet. As her power grows stronger, her brother Kev tries to protect her from it but is jailed. While witnessing all the injustice around her and watching her brother suffer in jail, Ella struggles to hold back her power and all the rage and hope it brings.
A book about family, racism, power, and revolution, Riot Baby will have you asking some important questions.
Click to read the synopsis
Ella has a Thing. She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse. A neighbor’s son murdered in a drive-by shooting. Things that haven’t happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned around them, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her. But when Kev is incarcerated, Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands.
Rooted in the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is as much an intimate family story as a global dystopian narrative. It burns fearlessly toward revolution and has quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.Ella and Kev are both shockingly human and immeasurably powerful. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by racism. Their futures might alter the world.
Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike comfortable lives are overturned when their mother loses her job, their father loses their house and their parent’s marriage collapses.
Thrust into the care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother, each sister strays onto different paths as they struggle to get their lives together. Over the course of two decades, we follow them through every struggle and accomplishment in this novel about family, oppression, hope, and love.
CW: sexual assault
After giving us Freshwater and PET, Akwaeke is here with another book that’s sure to thrill us. This novel starts with the death of Vivek Oji and we’re taken back in time to see what lead to that pivotal moment. Fellow book blogger Amyn @ lipglossmafia describes Akwaeke books as “surreal” and I’m looking forward to seeing how this book follows that trend.
Click to read the synopsis
This is the tale of Vivek Oji. It begins with his end, his naked body shrouded on his mother’s doorstep, and moves backwards through time to unpick the story of his life and the mystery surrounding his death.
As compulsively readable as it is tender and potent, this is a fresh, engaging novel about the innocence of youth and how it clashes with culture and expectation. The Death of Vivek Oji is the story of a Nigerian childhood quite different from those we have been told before, as Emezi’s writing speaks to the truth of realities other than those that have already been seen.
THE MECHANICS OF YENAGOA BY MICHAEL AFENFIA
A weekly blog series turned into a novel, it follows the adventures of Ebinimi, a mechanic of Kalakala Street. From getting caught in love triangles to run-ins with crooked politicians and assassins, Ebinimi gets into all kinds of stories as we explore Yenagoa through his eyes and those around him. This book is published by Masobe, a new Nigerian publisher and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table.
Click to read the synopsis
Ebinimi, star mechanic of Kalakala Street, is a man with a hapless knack for getting in and out of trouble. Some of his troubles are self-inflicted: like his recurring entanglements in love triangles; and his unauthorised joyriding of a customer’s car which sets off a chain of dire events involving drugs, crooked politicians, and assassins. Other troubles are caused by the panorama of characters in his life, like: his sister and her dysfunctional domestic situation; the three other mechanics he employs; and the money-loving preacher who has all but taken over his home.
The story is fast-paced with surprising twists and a captivating plot – a Dickenesque page-turner. This is Ebinimi’s story but it is about a lot more than him. It is an exploration of the dynamics between working-class people as they undertake a colourful tour of Yenagoa, one of Nigeria’s lesser-known cities, while using humour, sex, and music, as coping mechanisms for the everyday struggle. It is a modern-classic tale of small lives navigating a big city.
Release date: Coming soon
Get the book: Masobe Books
THE MADHOUSE BY TJ BENSON
Since reading Benson’s short story collection, We Won’t Fade Into The Darkness, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to his first full-length novel. The Madhouse follows a family from its creation to the births of two brothers, Max and Andre, who grow up during turbulent times and face many struggles.
When Osayuki decided to leave London and return to Nigeria, a country she hasn’t been to in years, she has no idea what she might find there apart from her new job in the fashion industry. At the airport, she has a chance encounter with Cynthia Okoye and Kian Bajo. In Lagos, Osayuki struggles to find her place and crosses paths with Cynthia and Kian again, this leads to events that might change her life forever.
Release Date: 26th May
ANTHOLOGY & SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
A BROKEN PEOPLE’S PLAYLIST BY CHIMEKA GARRICKS
A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways and finding healing in the most unlikely places. (Synopsis from Publisher)
You should also check out his other book, Tomorrow Died Yesterday which is a gripping tale of a region in turmoil.
A collection of short stories inspired by history and mythology, Love In Color takes old tales, from Greek myths to Nigerian folklores, and retells them as a celebration of love from around the world.
First of all, I love anything inspired by mythology, especially when it’s focused on black characters and just look at that gorgeous cover.
Release date: 9th July
Chat time! Are you looking forward to reading any of these books? Which of these books are you going to add to your reading list? Let me know in the comments below. If you want even more books by Nigerian authors, I’ve got another list of books by Nigerian authors published in 2019.
P.S: I will be updating this list frequently so if you want to be notified and keep up with the updates, you can sign up for my newsletter below. I’d be glad to have you.